Bison defense stifles UND hoopsFARGO — North Dakota State knows how to play defense in the Fargodome. In men’s basketball, too.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — North Dakota State knows how to play defense in the Fargodome. In men’s basketball, too.
The Bison kept the University of North Dakota in the freezer most of Sunday afternoon in taking a 72-52 win before 5,168 fans, culminating a weekend that included a football quarterfinal victory in the same building. Like the football team, scoring was tough for the visiting team.
“We try to imitate (Chris) Klieman’s defense, that’s our goal,” said NDSU head coach Saul Phillips, in reference to the Bison defensive coordinator.
NDSU held UND to just three field goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half to extend a 30-24 halftime lead to 47-33. The lead reached 20 points about five minutes later.
“Anytime you can beat a rival school by 20, it’s a good feeling,” said Bison forward Taylor Braun. “Just like all our wins this year, it was a huge team effort.”
The effort was most noticeable on defense. UND, for instance, committed a turnover in six of its first 11 possessions of the second half.
“And they got separation,” head coach Brian Jones said of the NDSU lead.
It was more than enough for the Bison to make amends for last year’s 59-54 loss in Grand Forks, something that stuck with the players in the offseason.
“I felt they played tougher than us, played like they wanted it more and that stuck with us,” Braun said. “Today, even though we had streaks where we didn’t shoot well, I think we won the majority of the hustle plays. We just wanted it more.”
Braun led NDSU with 22 points. Center Marshall Bjorklund had 13 points and forward TrayVonn Wright 10 points and 8 rebounds. Not helping UND’s cause was the loss of 6-8 center Brandon Brekke to a concussion just two minutes into the game.
“That was a big blow for us because he is the one guy that can score with his back to the basket,” Jones said. “It hurt us today. That’s life in athletics and sports and you have to get through that.”
UND finished with 19 turnovers to just six for NDSU. That and 18 Bison offensive rebounds made for the second straight convincing win over UND in the Fargodome.
“Turning a team over 19 times gives you a chance to win it,” Phillips said.
NDSU won 81-55 two years ago in the renewal of the rivalry.
“We watched the film last year and we didn’t play how we are capable of playing,” Bjorklund said. “We took that to heart this year.”
It was the sixth loss in seven games this season for UND. NDSU improved to 8-2 heading into the University of Minnesota game Tuesday night.